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Fish from Hell (Part I)

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Fish from Hell (Part I)

Published ca. 1945
Topics Animals: Fish

Deep-sea fishing adventure.

Run time 12:47
Producer Marine Pictures
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Ken Smith reports: Essentially, this "film" is just murky stock footage of men on a fishing trawler. What transforms it into an epic tale of Man vs. The Sea is an amazing narration by somebody named Wilfred Lucas. Mr. Lucas pulls no punches; in this violent world, decent men kill every fish they meet. But that's okay, because -- as Mr. Lucas explains -- fish are evil and deserve to die. A manta ray gets a harpoon in its skull because it's a "devil fish," and a "terror of the deep." An octopus barely escapes with its life, even though it's a "slimy, death-dealing monster" and a "black-hearted scoundrel." Even porpoises are slandered, being derisively referred to as "clowns" and "good for lubricating oil." As if this weren't enough, a whole section of this film is devoted to a battle between a whale and a swordfish, which is the whale's "greatest enemy" (something many ichthyologists would be interested to learn). As the camera cuts rapidly between stock shots of a leaping swordfish and completely different footage of a sleeping whale, Mr. Lucas tells us that "no one has ever been lucky enough to photograph a scene like this before." Truly a triumph of style over content; great fun to watch. Look for the cameo by Wumpy the parrot.
extremely theatrical narration of action;
P.O.V. bow of boat cutting through water
Commercial tuna boat with fisherman hauling in dozens and dozens. Game fishermen catching tuna with rods and reels.
ship's lookout on mast; CU reel;
Shark fight:
man hooks tuna; shark attempts to get tuna; man shoots at shark with a handgun; tuna is landed, has an enormous shark bite taken out of him;
man hooks shark on line; shark fights back ferociously; shark is landed; shark's mouth is opened to display teeth;
man climbs ship's rigging;
manta ray is landed
harpooner spears giant manta; manta drags boat along behind him; boat capsizes;
storm at sea; diver in diving suit;
hammerhead shark is caught (and shot at)
On porpoises:
"No good for food, they make good leather and the finest lubricating oil used for watches and clocks."
giant octopus:
"Can't afford to miss a chance to photograph one of these elephant-spiders of the ocean floor." "Merciful powers, what's this eerie shape.? There it is! Look out, octopus! The crawling irresistible slimy death-dealing monster of the sea floor."
"Watch how quickly the fish our boys throw down is enclosed in that living sepulcher."
whale and swordfish have fight; whale is harpooned;
commercial whaler shoots a harpoon gun (looks like artillery)



Reviewer: ZachVon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 29, 2014
Subject: Date of the film.
Pretty sure this was made in 1935, not '45. The database lists it as being from 1935 and I have an 8mm Kodascope with a circle-square date code. Terrific film!
Reviewer: bagelbutt - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 17, 2008
Subject: Now that's fishen!!
What a great action packed adventure film, I'm suprized they weren't using any dynamite!!I've heard people say that sharks are misunderstood, I understand them perfectly after a bull shark tore a stablizer right off my transom while I was fishen in the gulf of mexico. "death to all sharks" it won't hurt the food chain any cause the rays will take over. Now that's fishen back when there were no p.c. cry babies, when the ships were wood and the men were iron!!!!!! Great film!!!!!!
Reviewer: pheret - favoritefavoritefavorite - January 12, 2008
Subject: fish from hell
sad film. i doubt there are rays in the sea that big any more.

and regarding the comment as to why nothing in the sea has developed technology, well, i hate to sound condescending but give me a break. the ONLY thing humans have that other creatures don't is the ability to manipulate fire.

give a whale or an octopus ability to manipulate fire, we are in TROUBLE.
Reviewer: HappyVoice - favorite - April 10, 2007
Subject: How times have changed
This movie presumably was made somewhere in the 30's or 40's when man was considered the great hero and other live things were considered the enemy. The inane comments of the narrator follow the practice of old movie shorts that tried to create excitement where awe and reverence would have been more apt. Some old cartoons that depicted blacks in a certain way and bad-mouthed Germans and Japanese during the second World War are now generally referred to as "Banned", which presumably means that they would never be played on today's commercial media. If those old cartoons are "banned", this fish movie should be double-banned and quietly lost where it will never be viewed by sick or potentially sick souls.
Reviewer: Whitetip - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 10, 2004
Subject: Dangerous
I get sick, when I see the amount of stupidity shown in this movie ... but ok, I know.
So I have to understand the condition the oceans are in, if this was and is the way the ocean is treated. Anyway, I think if I was a fish in the sea, I rather would like to get shot by a madman, then caught by the industry.
Reviewer: averytheclown - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 14, 2003
Subject: Wow.
Wow. This is incredible. This film reminds me of that Southpark episode where stan's uncle takes them hunting and they kill EVERYTHING. Cause in this film, they...kill...EVERY...THING. I was mildly nauseated when porpoises, the gentle geniuses of the sea, were referred to as fish that are good for "lubricating oil" and "leather goods" but not for eating. Didn't they know that dolphins are mammals back then?

Sharks are "robbers," and fishermen are "superhuman." There's even a little racism in the mash, "The Chinaboy might make himself some sharkfin soup." Magnificently large Manta Rays are "too greedy" in their eating habits, it "spoils it for the fishermen," so they need to be killed. Killed hard. And so they were; "ZAM! RIGHT THROUGH THE SKULL! WHAT A RIDE THEY'RE GETTING!"

I love how "sport fishermen" use guns.
Reviewer: cashel - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 25, 2003
Subject: a film pioneer
maker of this film,wilfred lucas had a very long movie career..With his wife,bess meredith, a distinguished screenwriter, he came to australia in 1921 and made several succesful westerns starring Snowy Baker
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 24, 2003
Subject: Fish from Hell (Full Film)
This is one of the all-time great ephemera titles and it doesn't disappoint, though to be more accurate, it should be called Narrators from Hell. Murky footage of deep-sea sport fishing is narrated by a guy whose religious mission is to convince us that fish are EVIL. The passion and logic of his arguments lay somewhere on the spectrum between circuit-riding revival preachers and psychotic cult leaders, and his delivery brings back scary memroies for me of my dad listening to the Nebraska-Oklahoma football game and nearly blowing a gasket. The footage cooperates with the narrator's religious mission by mainly showing us various ways to kill sea life, including guns. The highlight of the film is the scene with the giant octupusto the narrator, this creature is Satan himself and he responds accordingly. Even porpoises are dismissed as only being good for leather and oil, and sharks always bring out the most violent behavior possible in the fishermenit's a good thing they didn't have access to nuclear weapons, or they would have most assuredly used them against every single shark they meet. If you haven't figured it out by now, this film is an environmentalist's nightmare. It's great ephemera, thoughfrom HELL!!
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: Psychaos - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 28, 2003
Subject: Kill Them All!
This is the single GREATEST MOVIE I'VE EVER SEEN! A bunch of fishermen sail around in a boat recklessly fishing. By reckless fishing, I mean either shooting or catching every fish they see. Some people have said this movie is politically incorrect, and I agree. But I think all the politicians are wrong. I think that if fish really deserved to live in the sea, they'd have evolved more so than they have, and have at least some faint vestiges of technology. But they don't.

Anyways,at the beginning, they randomly catch all the fish they see until a shark shows up. And I guess they decide they don't like the shark, so they begin shooting it. I really believe the shark deserves it for not having any defense against the gun. And I think that we have more right to the ocean than any stupid fish. After they shoot the shark they continue travelling and shoot other things, like whales and mantas. They also call the manta a demonic fish or something of the sort, and I really have no choice but to agree, because they're large flatish fish that do nothing but swim and eat, like most other fish. In our culture I suppose thats what everyone aspires to, but it is also somewhat immoral. The manta has acheived this, so I dubb it the Fish From Hell.

This movie was amazing, even the ending when the boat's company gets caught in a storm and shipwrecked. The senseless violence is justified in my opinion, and as a result I will give this movie 5 stars. I hope anyone reading this review finds it helpful.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 15, 2003
Subject: Painfully politically incorrect.
Definitely not a how-to for sport fishing, as a lot of this film seems to rely on 'revenge fishing', this is, I hope, an example of fishing from the past and not representative of today.
We start on the boat, where the narrator notices some porpoises following them, "Definitely not food fish!" Thank goodness! "But can be used for a lot of other things, like leather!" Soon, they're fishing for tuna, and a shark joins in for the hunt for tuna. After they catch the tuna, (which attained a major laceration from the shark) the fishermen take out their frustration and get the shark as well (using a gun!), soon they're catching Stingrays (!!), a hammerhead shark (gun usage again) and in it's rather strange ending, we see a battle between a swordfish and a giant whale. Curiously, the fishermen decide "to take the whale out of it's misery' by.. killing the whale! Before you can say, "Well, why not just go for the swordfish?" rest assured that they go and kill that as well. Keep in mind during all of this, the most RIDICULOUS narration is going on, with narrator almost drooling over the fishermen's exploits. Quite a strange film.
Reviewer: WTAbernathy - favoritefavorite - March 14, 2003
Subject: Not as bad as all that...
I learned many things from this movie. I learned that sharks actually prefer man meat to fish... I learned that manta rays are the devil, and it's OK to just kill them for no reason. I learned that salty men make good ship mates. I learned you should always deepsea fish near deserted islands in case your boat gets destroyed by a big storm.

Seriously, not a bad flick. The narrator really packs a punch to misinformation, yet it is entertaining.

I give it 2 stars.
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